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M-O-P Button Necklace

1987 Sondra Sherman Born: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1958 constructed mother-of-pearl, glass buttons, and iron wire 11 1/2 x 4 1/4 x 1 in. (29.2 x 10.8 x 2.5 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Libby Cooper in memory of Lillian Bardfield 2002.60 Not currently on view

Luce Center Label

Sondra Sherman plays with traditional ideas of womanhood in M-O-P Button Necklace. The title refers to mother-of-pearl, the iridescent shell used in this piece. However, the necklace, its materials, and its title evoke different aspects of gender identity. Since jewelry is meant to ornament the body, the necklace triggers thoughts of ideal beauty, a concept reinforced by the fact that mother-of-pearl comes from the sea, the birthplace of Venus. The word "mother" in the name of the shell also refers to one role that women hold in family life, while the buttons and the initials for mother-of-pearl, which spells "mop," remind us of common domestic duties performed by housewives.


decorative arts - jewelry

Crafts - Mixed Media

animal parts - shell - mother of pearl


metal - iron

About Sondra Sherman

Born: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1958

More works in the collection by
Sondra Sherman